Annotated Bibliography of News Coverage

The Americana packed with Cuban Refugees During the Mariel Boatlift, Key West

Refugees during Mariel Boatlift. Photograph by Dale M. McDonald, 1980.

Cuban exodus, 1980

Cuban refugees from the Mariel Boatlift aboard ship. Photograph by Miami Herald Staff, 1980.

 

We chose to develop a glossed bibliography of sources for those looking to learn more about the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, including historical background and news coverage from Floridian, national, and Vassar-specific media outlets.

Timeline: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/mariel/mariel-chronology.htm

Database of sources: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/mariel/mariel-chronology.htm

Historical Background:

The Mariel Boatlift of 1980, supported by the US government and aided by FEMA, was a massive and relatively unorganized project to export hundreds of thousands of Cubans to Florida. Early in April of that year, more than 10,000 Cubans rushed the Peruvian embassy in Havana in an attempt to apply for asylum. Simultaneously Cubans were hijacking various boats that they then used to reach the United States where they applied for asylum. These rising tensions within Cuba pressured the communist regime to open the Mariel port and allow Cubans to travel by sea to the United States. The Carter administration initially accepted migrants under the US 1980 Refugee Act and poured millions of dollars into their resettlement. By May, they were recategorized as “applicants for asylum.” The US attempted to end the boat lift mid-May and transition to alternate modes of migration but it did not officially end until Cuba closed the port on September 25 (Larzelere xxv-xxxii).

Although Cubans had been migrating to the United States since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, those who emigrated through the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 represented a shift in the way the US viewed Cuban expatriates. The pre-Mariel waves of migration can be separated into two groups: the Golden Exiles who migrated from 1960 to 1964, and the Freedom Flight refugees who migrated from 1965 to 1974 (Skop 450). The first wave largely consisted of opposers of Communism and the Castro regime who fled in fear of reprisals when Castro came into power (Cuadrado 2). During the Freedom Flight, Cubans already in the US returned to Cuba to bring friends and family back to the United States. The social networks existent between the two groups established the Cuban community as a “homogenous” body of “mostly whites from the upper and middle classes” (Skop 450). The Mariel Boatlift brought in a broader representation of Cuban society to the United States that was additionally characterized by Fidel Castro as “burdensome, nonproductive” criminals and undesirables (Larzelere 215). “Both the US media and the Cuban American community accepted and reproduced the negative stereotypes of the marielitos propagated by Castro” (Cuadrado 2).

 

Works Cited

Cuadrado, Andrew. “Mariel Cubans and U.S. Refugee Camps, 1980-1982.” Order No. 1554822 College of Charleston, 2014. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.

Larzelere, Alex, 1936-. The 1980 Cuban Boatlift. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1988.

Skop, Emily H. “Race and Place in the Adaptation of Mariel Exiles.” The International Migration Review 35.2 (2001): 449-71. ProQuest. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.

 

News Coverage of Boatlift–Florida Sources

Newspaper coverage of the Mariel Boatlift from local sources in Miami covered a range of topics and the faced some criticism.  One main issue was the lack of coverage in Spanish.  Of the 51 Miami Herald reporters on the case, only seven or eight spoke Spanish, and the Spanish newspaper, El Herald, was significantly smaller than the English version.  (Tasker and Santiago 2005).  This lead to spotty coverage and missed stories, lack of voice for refugees in many articles, and alienated Spanish-speaking migrants and Miami residents.  Ironically, there was considerable coverage of the debate to ban Spanish-taught curriculum in school.  The Herald was also accused of spinning articles to promote an anti-refugee sentiment, using language such as “unwanted” (Chardy 1980) and “undesirables” (Tasker and Santiago 2005).  Moreover, the articles were predominantly negative, with 90% of them being negative during the height of the boatlift (Tasker and Santiago 2005).  
Coverage by Topics
o Individual narratives
“Safe conduct pass no help to those trapped in cuba.” Ana Veciana-Suarez. Oct 2, 1980. Miami News. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Lovers parted by exile find each other.” Marilyn A Moore.  October 2, 1980. Miami News.  http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o Schools
“Cuban Students’ Progress Depends on Who’s Grading.” Mike Winerip. October 2, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Schools expect influx of winter refugees.” Felicia Gressette.  October 4, 1980. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o Travel
“Boat Refugee Vanishes at Sea.” Alfonso Chardy. October 3, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Coast Guard Keeps Watch Against Revival of Boatlift.” October 6, 1980.  Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Inner-Tube Boat Brings Three on 5.5 day voyage from Cuba.” Robert Rivas. Oct 8, 1980. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o Government
“Carter to Sign Refugee Aid Bill in the Next Few Days, Officials Say.” Jane Daugherty.  October 4, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“US Funding for Refugees is Expanded.” Guillermo Martinez. October 2, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“US agrees to take 600 left at Mariel.” Ana Veciana- Suarez. Oct 16, 1980. Miami News. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o External
“Refugees stir up Puerto Rician politics.” Zita Arocha. October 6, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Judge Temporarily Stops Plan to Shift Refugees to Puerto Rico.” Zita Arocha. Oct 9, 1980. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o Language
“Bilingual debate: impromptu touch.” Ivan Castro. October 3, 1980.  
“Latin leader blasts foes of bilingualism.” Zita Arocha. October 4, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Two Chambers clash over bilingualism.” George Stein. October 4, 1980. Miami Herald.” http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“English programs offered for Aliens.” Oct 14, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o Crime and negative press
“Tent City Folds Up for Good.” Alfonso Chardy. October 1, 1980.  Miami Herald.   “Tent City’s End, Foodball Feats Give City a Lift.” October 4, 1980. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Three refugees face kidnapping charges.” Robert Rivas. Oct 7, 1980. Miami Herald. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Latest violence shows hatred is still in style.” Roberto Fabricio. Oct 11, 1980.  http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
“Jury can’t decide if he was a patrit or an airplane hijacker.”  Mary Voboril. Oct 11, 1980.  http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/miami-oct-1-18-1980.pdf
o Review of the Coverage
Heady days for Herald: boatlift and major riots.” Fred Tasker and Fabiola Santaigo. April 3, 2005. http://www.cubanet.org/htdocs/CNews/y05/apr05/05e2.htm

 

News Coverage of Boatlift–Mainstream/National News Sources

One of the most dominant themes in the media coverage of the Mariel Boat Lift was an anxiety with criminality and danger. Many major US new sources, both immediately after Mariel and years later, drew on a fear that the Mariel Boat Lift was a movement of dangerous law-breakers from Cuba to the US. As we have already pointed out, some of the migrants in the Mariel Boat Lift were indeed once held in Cuban prisons. These alleged criminals were composed of both political prisoners and those who had broken civil law shared in both the US and Cuba (ie, convicted of theft, violence, etc.) With that said, the Mariel Boat Lift was not nearly as criminal-heavy as the media seemed to imply based on the amount of time and space they devoted to concerns of the Mariel migrants’ ability to follow US law and order. The US media coverage of the time also called into question the generally open immigration status the US had before the Boat Lift. With these migrants, US news sources started to seriously consider whether or not more restrictions in migrant movement between the two countries was necessary. Again, these concerns were motivated by a fear that those who arrived in Florida as part of the Mariel Boat Lift were somehow more dangerous and criminally-involved than their earlier compatriots. With Op Ed pieces that called on the US to be cautious of more Cuban migrants, and news articles that sought to investigate just how successful Mariel migrants were at assimilation, dominant American anxieties took hold of newspapers around the country.

 

In contrast to what Noble describes above, many articles that I reviewed (particularly those written immediately during the refugee crisis), took on a largely empathetic tone towards the refugees. These articles made the refugees’ motivation to undertaken illegal or unofficial immigration legible by describing their dreams for freedom and their understandable desire to reunite with their families. By using words and phrases such as “freedom” and “liberty” “hope” “joy” “starting over” “new life”, the authors of more empathetic articles depict the refugees as in some ways ‘already’ Americans–or already understandable to American audiences. They are people who ‘belong’ in America, as opposed to belonging in Communist Cuba. They are also described as hardworking, and humanized by incredibly moving descriptions of family reunions. They are also granted (resilient) victim status through words like ‘refugees’ and ‘exiles’–implying that circumstances beyond their control or choice propelled their decision to move. In this way, these articles flip the narrative that the migrants are the ‘worst’ of Cuban society, implying that these are people who did not fit into Cuban society because they had democratic leanings–they are in fact the ‘ones we want’ in that sense.

In general, reading these articles was striking because they imply an initial leniency towards mass, relatively unofficial migration that would be completely unimaginable today. I do not see the words “illegal alien” or a descriptor of the refugees as criminal exclusively because of their undocumented status. This would be unthinkable in most mainstream 2016 media outlets describing, for example, people desperate to get into the United States from Central America and Mexico. These contemporary migrants are not given discursive ‘refugee status’ in newspaper articles, but described first and foremost as undocumented, whereas Cuban refugees (because of a different attitude towards migration, a strong anti-Communist sentiment, or both), were largely understood as people necessarily fleeing, the problem being how to incorporate them best.

 

Glossed sample of responses to the Mariel Boatlift from major media outlets:

 

“Cuba Boatlift Grows Despite U.S. Warning,” William C. Rempel, April 25, 1980. L.A. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/162691934/fulltextPDF/A410312E087C4AA4PQ/1?accountid=14824

This piece is relatively sympathetic to Cuban exiles in the U.S., and describes their chartering of private boats for thousands of dollars in the context of wanting to be reunited with their families. Although it acknowledges that the U.S. is attempting to stop the boatlift, it includes mostly moving Cuban-American testimony about the desire to bring family to Florida at all costs.

 

“Hundreds in Boats, Defying U.S., Sail for Cuba to Pick Up Refugees,” John M. Crewdson, April 25, 1980. N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121171747/fulltextPDF/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/1?accountid=14824

Describes similar events as the above article, focusing more on the U.S. Coast Guard etc. response to the refugees. It seems that in general, the response was much more passive than it would be today, with many refugees gaining papers and asylum status and boats not suffering the consequences of transporting refugees illegally.

 

“U.S. Seizes 3 Boats with Refugees, Cuban Americans Crowd Key West,” Two part story by Joseph B. Treaster and John M. Crewdson, April 29, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121222327/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/2?accountid=14824

Describes stronger government response to refugees (after being initially overwhelmed by the mass exodus, the United States began seizing boats and levying fines, which before they had only threatened to do. Describes makeup of Refugee population in Key West, in language that describes the frustration of Floridians but is also largely sympathetic to the refugee population.

 

“Boats Overloaded: U.S. Gives Lift to Over 265 Cubans,” May 12, 1980, L.A. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/162788929/A410312E087C4AA4PQ/3?accountid=14824

Describes growing numbers of boats, continued exodus.

 

“Healthy Cross Section of Emigres,” May 16, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121005071/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/4?accountid=14824

Refuting claims that refugee population is largely criminal or mentally/physically ill, noting that the Cuban government’s desire to remove so-called ‘undesirables’ is due more to their counterrevolutionary sentiments. In this way the article makes the refugee population, which is described as largely healthy and safe, sympathetic to an anti-Communist readership.

 

“Key West Merchants See ‘Horrendous Headlines’ on Exiles as Tourism Threat,” May 15, 1980, L.A. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/162777225/A410312E087C4AA4PQ/4?accountid=14824

Describes the concern of the Key West tourism industry–discusses less the actual refugee population, and more the fears of merchants that the negative press surrounding them will dissuade summer tourists.

 

“The Long Journey of Hope from Mariel to Key West,” Edward Schumacher, May 20, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121396050/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/5?accountid=14824

Incredibly sympathetic towards the refugees, author conducts personal interviews of Cubans traveling by boat to the United States, painting them as desirous of freedom and ‘liberty’, and as hardworking people who had been through a lot for their commitment to democratic ideals within a communist country. He uses moving examples such as a grandmother who said she wanted to ‘die in a free country’ and weeping over the hunger her family had faced in Cuba.

 

“Cuban Reunion in Newark Brings a Joyous Beginning,” Edward Schumacher, May 24, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121398376/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/7?accountid=14824

By the same author as the above article, very sympathetic again. Describes family reunions, which have been made difficult by the Cuban government’s restrictive policies. Notes both the joy of being reunited with family and the pain of leaving other family behind.

 

“Havana Government Unilaterally Cuts off Refugee Boat Exodus,” Steven R. Weisman, September 27, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121006701/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/15?accountid=14824

Describes Cuba’s halt of the refugee exodus (this alone is amazing from a 2016 perspective–this exodus was allowed to happen for months, something unimaginable today). Largely addresses the geopolitics/relationship between Cuba and the United States, focusing less on the refugees themselves.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=9

 

1982- This Opinions piece from the Washington Post argues that contrary to popular belief, the huge numbers of Cuban refugees entering Florida in 1980 were not composed exclusively of violent criminals. The writer says that only a small minority were criminals and that among those, even fewer were violent. The piece is a pretty rosey description of the US’s response to the migrants.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=5

 

1980- An news announcement from the Washington Post describes one particular arrival of Cuban refugees as part of the Mariel Boatlift. In this article 500 migrants arrive on around 100 small ships and sea vessels.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=8

 

“Excludables”, Opinion Editorial, November 24, 1987

1987- This is an Opinions piece responding to the reinstatement of an immigration agreement between the US and Cuba in which normal immigration policies were resettled but many Mariel Cuban refugees were deported. The piece focuses on the idea of criminality and the argument that many of the refugees from the Mariel boatlift were either criminals in Cuba or became criminals in the US. The biggest obstacles for Mariel refugees in the US seems to be this American anxiety with criminality.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=6

 

1987- Washington Post Article that explains the nuances of the previously mentioned 1987 immigration agreement between the US and Cuba. Again, this article features the language of criminality and “the excludables”.

“The problem of the undesirables arose in 1980 when thousands of Cubans, driven by economic hardship, left their island homes from the port of Mariel on a fleet of small vessels sent by relatives and friends in Florida. The Castro government, in a gesture of defiance toward the United States, emptied many of its jails and mental hospitals and put the inmates on boatsconvoying people out of Mariel.

Those with criminal records and serious mental disorders put heavy strains on police and welfare resources in Miami and other Florida cities and led to demands by local authorities that the federal government send them back. Redman said yesterday that of 2,746 people who were declared ineligible to enter this country legally, 201 were returned to Cuba in early 1985 before the agreement was suspended.”

 

One of the most dominant themes in the media coverage of the Mariel Boat Lift was an anxiety with criminality and danger. Many major US new sources, both immediately after Mariel and years later, drew on a fear that the Mariel Boat Lift was a movement of dangerous law-breakers from Cuba to the US. As we have already pointed out, some of the migrants in the Mariel Boat Lift were indeed once held in Cuban prisons. These alleged criminals were composed of both political prisoners and those who had broken civil law shared in both the US and Cuba (ie, convicted of theft, violence, etc.) With that said, the Mariel Boat Lift was not nearly as criminal-heavy as the media seemed to imply based on the amount of time and space they devoted to concerns of the Mariel migrants’ ability to follow US law and order. The US media coverage of the time also called into question the generally open immigration status the US had before the Boat Lift. With these migrants, US news sources started to seriously consider whether or not more restrictions in migrant movement between the two countries was necessary. Again, these concerns were motivated by a fear that those who arrived in Florida as part of the Mariel Boat Lift were somehow more dangerous and criminally-involved than their earlier compatriots. With Op Ed pieces that called on the US to be cautious of more Cuban migrants, and news articles that sought to investigate just how successful Mariel migrants were at assimilation, dominant American anxieties took hold of newspapers around the country.

 

In contrast to what Noble describes above, many articles that I reviewed (particularly those written immediately during the refugee crisis), took on a largely empathetic tone towards the refugees. These articles made the refugees’ motivation to undertaken illegal or unofficial immigration legible by describing their dreams for freedom and their understandable desire to reunite with their families. By using words and phrases such as “freedom” and “liberty” “hope” “joy” “starting over” “new life”, the authors of more empathetic articles depict the refugees as in some ways ‘already’ Americans–or already understandable to American audiences. They are people who ‘belong’ in America, as opposed to belonging in Communist Cuba. They are also described as hardworking, and humanized by incredibly moving descriptions of family reunions. They are also granted (resilient) victim status through words like ‘refugees’ and ‘exiles’–implying that circumstances beyond their control or choice propelled their decision to move. In this way, these articles flip the narrative that the migrants are the ‘worst’ of Cuban society, implying that these are people who did not fit into Cuban society because they had democratic leanings–they are in fact the ‘ones we want’ in that sense.

In general, reading these articles was striking because they imply an initial leniency towards mass, relatively unofficial migration that would be completely unimaginable today. I do not see the words “illegal alien” or a descriptor of the refugees as criminal exclusively because of their undocumented status. This would be unthinkable in most mainstream 2016 media outlets describing, for example, people desperate to get into the United States from Central America and Mexico. These contemporary migrants are not given discursive ‘refugee status’ in newspaper articles, but described first and foremost as undocumented, whereas Cuban refugees (because of a different attitude towards migration, a strong anti-Communist sentiment, or both), were largely understood as people necessarily fleeing, the problem being how to incorporate them best.

 

Glossed sample of responses to the Mariel Boatlift from major media outlets:

 

“Cuba Boatlift Grows Despite U.S. Warning,” William C. Rempel, April 25, 1980. L.A. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/162691934/fulltextPDF/A410312E087C4AA4PQ/1?accountid=14824

This piece is relatively sympathetic to Cuban exiles in the U.S., and describes their chartering of private boats for thousands of dollars in the context of wanting to be reunited with their families. Although it acknowledges that the U.S. is attempting to stop the boatlift, it includes mostly moving Cuban-American testimony about the desire to bring family to Florida at all costs.

 

“Hundreds in Boats, Defying U.S., Sail for Cuba to Pick Up Refugees,” John M. Crewdson, April 25, 1980. N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121171747/fulltextPDF/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/1?accountid=14824

Describes similar events as the above article, focusing more on the U.S. Coast Guard etc. response to the refugees. It seems that in general, the response was much more passive than it would be today, with many refugees gaining papers and asylum status and boats not suffering the consequences of transporting refugees illegally.

 

“U.S. Seizes 3 Boats with Refugees, Cuban Americans Crowd Key West,” Two part story by Joseph B. Treaster and John M. Crewdson, April 29, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121222327/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/2?accountid=14824

Describes stronger government response to refugees (after being initially overwhelmed by the mass exodus, the United States began seizing boats and levying fines, which before they had only threatened to do. Describes makeup of Refugee population in Key West, in language that describes the frustration of Floridians but is also largely sympathetic to the refugee population.

 

“Boats Overloaded: U.S. Gives Lift to Over 265 Cubans,” May 12, 1980, L.A. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/162788929/A410312E087C4AA4PQ/3?accountid=14824

Describes growing numbers of boats, continued exodus.

 

“Healthy Cross Section of Emigres,” May 16, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121005071/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/4?accountid=14824

Refuting claims that refugee population is largely criminal or mentally/physically ill, noting that the Cuban government’s desire to remove so-called ‘undesirables’ is due more to their counterrevolutionary sentiments. In this way the article makes the refugee population, which is described as largely healthy and safe, sympathetic to an anti-Communist readership.

 

“Key West Merchants See ‘Horrendous Headlines’ on Exiles as Tourism Threat,” May 15, 1980, L.A. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/162777225/A410312E087C4AA4PQ/4?accountid=14824

Describes the concern of the Key West tourism industry–discusses less the actual refugee population, and more the fears of merchants that the negative press surrounding them will dissuade summer tourists.

 

“The Long Journey of Hope from Mariel to Key West,” Edward Schumacher, May 20, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121396050/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/5?accountid=14824

Incredibly sympathetic towards the refugees, author conducts personal interviews of Cubans traveling by boat to the United States, painting them as desirous of freedom and ‘liberty’, and as hardworking people who had been through a lot for their commitment to democratic ideals within a communist country. He uses moving examples such as a grandmother who said she wanted to ‘die in a free country’ and weeping over the hunger her family had faced in Cuba.

 

“Cuban Reunion in Newark Brings a Joyous Beginning,” Edward Schumacher, May 24, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121398376/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/7?accountid=14824

By the same author as the above article, very sympathetic again. Describes family reunions, which have been made difficult by the Cuban government’s restrictive policies. Notes both the joy of being reunited with family and the pain of leaving other family behind.

 

“Havana Government Unilaterally Cuts off Refugee Boat Exodus,” Steven R. Weisman, September 27, 1980, N.Y. Times.

http://search.proquest.com/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/121006701/FACDF74A1C874DAEPQ/15?accountid=14824

Describes Cuba’s halt of the refugee exodus (this alone is amazing from a 2016 perspective–this exodus was allowed to happen for months, something unimaginable today). Largely addresses the geopolitics/relationship between Cuba and the United States, focusing less on the refugees themselves.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=9

 

1982- This Opinions piece from the Washington Post argues that contrary to popular belief, the huge numbers of Cuban refugees entering Florida in 1980 were not composed exclusively of violent criminals. The writer says that only a small minority were criminals and that among those, even fewer were violent. The piece is a pretty rosey description of the US’s response to the migrants.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=5

 

1980- An news announcement from the Washington Post describes one particular arrival of Cuban refugees as part of the Mariel Boatlift. In this article 500 migrants arrive on around 100 small ships and sea vessels.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=8

 

“Excludables”, Opinion Editorial, November 24, 1987

1987- This is an Opinions piece responding to the reinstatement of an immigration agreement between the US and Cuba in which normal immigration policies were resettled but many Mariel Cuban refugees were deported. The piece focuses on the idea of criminality and the argument that many of the refugees from the Mariel boatlift were either criminals in Cuba or became criminals in the US. The biggest obstacles for Mariel refugees in the US seems to be this American anxiety with criminality.

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/lnacui2api/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T23617651650&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T23617651654&cisb=22_T23617651653&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=6

 

1987- Washington Post Article that explains the nuances of the previously mentioned 1987 immigration agreement between the US and Cuba. Again, this article features the language of criminality and “the excludables”.

“The problem of the undesirables arose in 1980 when thousands of Cubans, driven by economic hardship, left their island homes from the port of Mariel on a fleet of small vessels sent by relatives and friends in Florida. The Castro government, in a gesture of defiance toward the United States, emptied many of its jails and mental hospitals and put the inmates on boatsconvoying people out of Mariel.

Those with criminal records and serious mental disorders put heavy strains on police and welfare resources in Miami and other Florida cities and led to demands by local authorities that the federal government send them back. Redman said yesterday that of 2,746 people who were declared ineligible to enter this country legally, 201 were returned to Cuba in early 1985 before the agreement was suspended.”

 

News Coverage–Vassar Sources

Vassar coverage during the incident is non-existent within my search. This is unsurprising, as Vassar publications have tended to be more local than world focused. What I’ve found interesting are Vassar’s ideas of Cuba in the decade after the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. There seems to be (unsurprisingly) many differing opinions at Vassar. Perhaps most telling is the account of a class of ‘84 Vassar grad’s look back at his participation in the boat lift four year’s earlier. He describes the media’s misportrayal of the Boatlift and Vassar students’ acceptance thereof. Another alum from the class of ‘45, describes her own experience attending a women’s conference in Havana in 1985. She describes her approval of women’s rights gains in Cuba since the revolution. But also subtly criticizes Castro and speculates about what the future of Cuba will be once he’s gone.

 

Traveling to hot spots

http://newspaperarchive.vassar.edu/cgi-bin/vassar?a=d&d=vq19851201-01.2.8&srpos=2&e=——-en-20–1–txt-txIN-Cuba+OR+cuban+AND+mariel-%2cARTICLE%2cADVERTISEMENT%2cCLASSNOTES%2cILLUSTRATION%2cTITLE_SECTION%2cLETTER—–

 

December 1985 Vassar Quarterly

 

An alum writing to advertise her travel company.

 

“Three partners and I who have worked more than 20 years together on peace and justice issues, having tried every other way to penetrate the fog of misinformation that surrounds most conflicts beyond our borders, finally decided to design and market tours to the hot spots of the world so people could see for themselves. Your article, and others, are evidence that this is an idea whose time has come. We serve all kinds of nonprofit groups in their travel arrangements, particularly church groups, besides designing and supplying leaders for our own tours.”

 

Looking Back to Mariel

 

http://newspaperarchive.vassar.edu/cgi-bin/vassar?a=d&d=vq19840601-01.2.18&srpos=1&e=——-en-20–1–txt-txIN-Cuba+OR+cuban+AND+mariel-%2cARTICLE%2cADVERTISEMENT%2cCLASSNOTES%2cILLUSTRATION%2cTITLE_SECTION%2cLETTER—–

 

June 1984 Vassar Quarterly

 

a Vassar senior writes about his experience operating a boat in the Mariel Boat Lift before his freshman year at Vassar. Talks about how Vassar changed how he looks at the experience. How most Vassar students didn’t have this prospective

 

Salsa Embraces Castro: A Tragic Misuse of VSA Funds

 

http://newspaperarchive.vassar.edu/cgi-bin/vassar?a=d&d=vcspec19891001-01.2.42&srpos=2&e=——-en-20–1–txt-txIN-Cuba+OR+cuban+AND+exile-%2cARTICLE%2cADVERTISEMENT%2cCLASSNOTES%2cILLUSTRATION%2cTITLE_SECTION%2cLETTER—–

 

October 1989 Vassar Spectator

 

A Vassar student responds to SALSA  (Student Alliance of Spanish Americans) flyers distributed at the beginning of the year.

 

“the first flyer had a large picture of Ernesto “Che” Guevara; the second, a picture of Malcolm X with the following quote: “The Cuban Revolution —that’s a revolution. They really overturned the system.” I wonder if SALSA knows what this means to the almost 1 million Cuban exiles worldwide, my family included.”

 

Student elaborates on the real aftermath of the Cuban Revolution and condemns anyone who supports it.

 

Dear Fidel

http://newspaperarchives.vassar.edu/cgi-bin/vassar?a=d&d=vcspec19881201-01.2.47&srpos=9&e=——198-en-20–1–txt-txIN-cuba-%2cARTICLE%2cADVERTISEMENT%2cCLASSNOTES%2cILLUSTRATION%2cTITLE_SECTION%2cLETTER—–

 

Strongly anti fidel comic. Uses an intentionally offensive english dialect. Describes how to make improvised explosives to target Vassar administration.

 

Letter from Lausanne Subject: Cuba, the social revolution by Helen Muller ’45-4

 

http://newspaperarchives.vassar.edu/cgi-bin/vassar?a=d&d=vq19851201-01.2.13&srpos=1&e=——198-en-20–1–txt-txIN-cuba-%2cARTICLE%2cADVERTISEMENT%2cCLASSNOTES%2cILLUSTRATION%2cTITLE_SECTION%2cLETTER—–
‘45 grad describes her experience at women’s conference in Havana, Cuba. Invited by the Federation of Cuban Women. Talks about the positive results of the Cuban Revolution in the form of increased women’s rights but challenges the still strong machismo and sexism.

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